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One of Mexico's most popular resort spots, Cancun is located on the Yucatan Peninsula in the state of Quintana Roo. Cancun gained fame as a tourist destination in the 1970s when the Mexican government spent money developing the area, which was previously a forest surrounded by beaches. It draws repeat visitors with its mild weather, beautiful beaches and nearby coral reef for snorkeling and diving.

The city consists of Ciudad Cancun or downtown Cancun, where most locals live, and Isla Cancun (Cancun Island), the main tourist area known more commonly as the Hotel Zone that’s located on a 15-mile-long sandbar in the shape of the number seven. It is worth noting that the destinations of Puerto Morelos, Isla Holbox and Isla Mujeres are all part of Cancun. (Anything south of Puerto Morelos, which begins in Playa del Carmen, is considered part of the Riviera Maya.)

Tourists flock to this beachy locale mainly for the outdoor activities — swimming, water skiing, windsurfing, snorkeling, scuba diving, hiking and zip lining. Though cultural enthusiasts will appreciate its close proximity to the Cancun Maya Museum and Coba, one of the largest Mayan ruins in the country.